At the end of last year, I had settled into London well enough now that I could think about establishing a routine. The first issue to resolve was, of course, where I would do my dance lessons.
It was always my plan to visit Pineapple Dance Studios, which is the most famous dance studio in London. There are nine studio rooms, and classes almost all day, every day. They teach many styles, from hip hop to ballet to Egyptian belly dance to salsa.
Finally, I decided Monday was the day. On Sunday night, I carefully packed my exercise clothes, a pair of socks, a pair of sneakers and a drink bottle. Along with my work satchel, I took this backpack of dance supplies to the office the next day.
All day while sitting in front of my computer, I was thinking about the evening dance class. I started to feel anxious. What if everyone was really good? What if I couldn’t keep up? What if they’re in the middle of a routine?
I decided not to go. Then I convinced myself that I had to do it some time. Then I decided I could go tomorrow instead of today. Then I told myself off for being a wuss.
By 5 o’clock, I was terrified.
‘You know, I’ll go tomorrow,’ I said to my workmate, Chris. ‘I’ll be ready then.’
‘Aw, Joan, go! You’ve brought your bag and everything. It’ll be fine!’
‘Ergh!’ I twisted my fingers up in a nervous fist. ‘You think I should go?’
Chris nodded emphatically. ‘I think you should go, Joan.’
‘All right. Yes. I’ll go.’
I got lost twice while walking from the office to Pineapple. I paid my day membership at the reception. As soon as I got to the studio, a girl called Bronwyn started chatting to me.
‘Is this your first time?’ she asked.
‘Yes! I’m a bit nervous,’ I admitted.
‘Have you done hip hop before?’
‘Yes, back home in Melbourne.’
Bronwy broke into a big smile. ‘I’m from Melbourne, too! Don’t worry. If you’ve danced before, you’ll be fine.’
During the first forty minutes, I avoided looking at myself in the mirror. The glimpses I did get showed that I was clumsy and uncertain. By the end of the hour less, though, I had found my dance groove again. Yeah! I was getting into it!
It was really fun. Now I go to Pineapple every week.